How to Follow-Up: The Art of Being Pleasantly Persistent
Whether your follow-up is with potential clients or the media, staying on top of leads is an important part of marketing a small business. At Three Girls, we often talk about being pleasantly persistent, which means making sure you follow up regularly, but not so often that you look like an annoying stalker. How often should you follow up? And what should you say? Here’s our advice:
When Should You Follow-Up?
This is a common question we hear from small business owners. While every lead is different and requires a bit of subjectivity and common sense, here’s a general guideline of times to follow:
- After initial contact, follow up 2-3 days after you provide product samples, additional information about your services, a proposal, etc.
- If you don’t hear anything back, wait 1-2 weeks and then check in again.
- Wait another 3-4 weeks before another round of follow up.
- Check in with the sales or marketing lead 1-2 months later.
- Continue to follow up quarterly.
What Should You Say When You Follow-Up?
Regardless of what kind of lead, make sure you provide something of value each time you check in. The generic version of a follow-up includes saying it was nice to meet them and requesting that if they have any further questions, feel free to ask. Well, of course they are free to ask. They are potential clients or media leads interested in working with you and they are going to ask plenty of questions, whenever they like. Tell him or her more about why your services are beneficial this time of year, or why your product is of use to them or their audience. Provide new and different information or angles each time you contact them.
Keep In Touch
Just because your potential client or media lead isn’t looking to work with you right now, doesn’t mean they can’t be an opportunity in the future. Marketing your small business is not only about cultivating leads, it’s also about building relationships. Sonja Jefferson of Valuable Content recommends you send potential clients useful content to stay in touch.
- Articles: Get your expert opinion and ideas down in writing – on the web, in magazines, on blogs. Write for your customers: write articles that show them how to solve their small business problems. Include these in regular newsletters or emails to keep in touch.
- Newsletters/e-newsletters: Inform and educate your contacts on a regular basis with valuable content – news, views, research and case studies that they’ll find of interest.
- Educational case studies: Show how other customers have benefitted from the type of approach you’re proposing. Capitalize on past success and turn your claims into evidence. This will open the reader’s eyes to what is possible if they work with your company.
- Whitepapers: Somewhere between an article and an academic paper, these persuasive documents contain useful information and expert opinion, promoting your company as a thought leader and helping solve customer issues.
- Third party evidence: Send your prospects articles and research by others that back up your proposed approach and lend weight to your argument.
Before you pick up the phone or send an email, make sure you are fully prepared. Practice what you’re going to say, create a script and re-read it multiple times to make sure it’s clear, concise and professional. If you can, have a friend or family member proofread the message for you or listen to what you’ll say and offer constructive criticism.
Effective follow up is an important part of closing sales and marketing leads for your small business. Being pleasantly persistent can help you stay on the mind of potential clients or leads without being annoying, which is why Three Girls Media has had such great success using this method when working with the media and potential clients.
Three Girls Media & Marketing Inc. is a public relations and social media management agency with teams in Silicon Valley and the Seattle area. We love working with small and emerging companies across the nation to raise their brand awareness and name recognition. I offer a complimentary 30-minute phone consultation and can answer your questions and discuss your specific marketing needs. Email me today at Info@ThreeGirlsMedia.com to arrange yours! Written by Erika Taylor Montgomery